In 1959, Iowa 4-H’ers travelled by bus for an exchange program with Kentucky 4-H. Since the National 4-H Center had just been opened they decided to keep going to see what was there and asked 4-H Center staff to plan a program for them. And the rest, as they say, is history. That trip resulted in the development of Citizenship Short Course (CSC) as it was called until the early 1970s when it was renamed Citizenship Washington Focus (CWF).
Going to new places through 4-H was a highlight 70 years ago just as it is today. Through 4-H trips, members visit new places and meet other 4-H members who may be from a different county or state. The June 1945 issue of National 4-H Club News mentions a number of 4-H travel opportunities.
Camp is one of the first trips that young 4-H members take. In that year, Vermont was raising funds to establish two or three regional 4-H camps. The 4-H clubs in each of the 11 counties were asked to contribute $20 toward this effort. Louisiana had scheduled 10 camps during their 23 years of camping, and Montana planned 15 camps to serve their 21 counties.
An article by Dr. Clarence Smith, early Chief of Cooperative Extension at USDA, extolled the importance of trips to state and national events like 4-H Club Congress and National 4-H Club Camp (now National 4-H Conference). However, he noted that trips and scholarships are subordinate to doing your best in project work. He said, “The better you do your project work, the more you give of yourself to your club and the more you bring back from adventures which come to enterprising club members.”
Some states offer 4-H international travel experiences. “The thrill of a lifetime” was had by 24 Texas 4-H club boys who drove into Mexico for a 10-day tour of “Old Mexico.” They were to meet with youth their age, visit demonstrations of agriculture, tour the world’s richest silver mine and visit remnants of the country’s ancient past.
Hands-On 4-H History
There are many travel experiences that you can have in 4-H at the county, state, national or international level. Your club may not know about all of them. Have any 4-H members, leaders or parents taken a 4-H trip? Ask them to share their experiences with the club. Perhaps you can mark these on a map (see related story in this issue on the National 4-H Mapping Project). What trips are offered in your state? Ask several members to research what they are to report to the club. As Dr. Smith advised, trips are the result of good 4-H work, and the benefits to those experiences can enrich both those who travel and their fellow club members.
Having started a 4-H camping program in 1915, West Virginia is celebrating its camping centennial this year with year-long commemorative events and special camp activities. (Editor’s note: An article on their activities is in the works for a coming issue of this Newsletter.)
From 1948 until recently, the National 4-H Foundation (now National 4-H Council) and USDA jointly administered the International Farm Youth Exchange – IFYE (later the International 4-H Youth Exchange). 4-H international exchanges with 19 participating states are now administered by States’ 4-H International Exchange Programs, 1601 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2230, Seattle, WA 98101, 800-407-3314, www.States4HExchange.org